Creating an Effective Project Execution Team
By Karthikeyan Kuthalingam, PMP
A strong strategic team initiates the project, and a strong project management team plans the project. Are these enough to make the project successful? No. What is one of the most important ingredients to make a project successful? The answer is an effective project execution team. But how do we form an effective project execution team?
Identify Leaders and Upcoming Leaders
It needs leaders to successfully execute a strategy. Understand the behavioral characteristics of the team, and identify present leaders and potential leaders. By creating a second rung of leaders, you can avoid disruption even if there is any movement in the current leadership.
Empowerment is a fine way to show your trust on leaders. Give them the power and they will make wonders. Make sure the team does not expect the project management team to make day-to-day decisions. Give them the authority to plan and implement those decisions, so that the leaders can concentrate on strategic areas. Communicate to the leaders what their powers are so that there is no ambiguity. Leaders will then take charge of the project and accept accountability.
Transform Given Team to Required Team
Given the current attrition levels in the market, it is difficult to get the right resources. It is important to transform the team you are given to what is ideal for the project, i.e., the required team. Considering all the roles and the technical, functional, and behavioral capabilities, prepare a required skill matrix for the project. Assess the given team against the required skill matrix and identify the improvement requirements. Provide training for soft and hard skills development, and reassess how the given team now fares against the required skill matrix. Make this a continual exercise.
Be Open to Feedback
The project management team should be open to feedback from the team and vice versa. Ask the team if they want to make changes in the project execution. There should be a formal process of receiving team feedback. If the project manager disagrees with the team, he/she should help them understand the reasons for it. The project manager should give feedback to the team through formal and informal channels. When the project manager has negative feedback for a team member, it must be communicated during a oneto-one session.
Understand and Categorize the Team
Not all team members have the same technical and behavioral capabilities. Invest time to analyze team members, and categorize them accordingly. The below-listed categories will help you allocate resources well:
- Quick learners: Identify people who are quick to learn new or complex concepts and assign them complicated domain or technical area.
- High achievers: Identify people who like to take up challenges and assign them complex tasks that they will carry out with perfection.
- Willing to go the extra mile: Identify people who like to show more initiative to perform extra for the project. They will help you when you have too many tasks and too few people.
- Good field workers: Identify people who are good in execution and utilize them on project tasks that are on a critical path.
- Good documenters: Identify people who have extensive documentation and report preparation capabilities for report and documentation activities.
Finally, the project manager should support and stand by the team in hours of crisis. A manager who backs up the team will get support from the team when he/she needs it the most. The right team can successfully execute the best strategy. Invest time to understand your team, and the results will show on the project outcome.
(Mr. Karthikeyan Kuthalingam, PMP, works as a principal consultant in Oracle Financial Services Software Limited, Bangalore. He has seven years of experience in the software industry, mainly in software testing. He has experience in managing a large test delivery team spanning multiple locations. Moreover, he has been involved in test process improvement consulting engagement for various clients.)